- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 12, 2006

Chairmen in waiting

Rush Limbaugh, as one who commands a large audience, is cautioning Democrats not to be overly confident when it comes to retaking control of Congress Nov. 7.

The popular talk-radio host also admonishes the Fourth Estate for concentrating on how the Republican leadership might react if it loses both the House and Senate, while ignoring how Democrats would respond if they fail to win enough seats and remain stuck in the minority.

Speaking of which, Patrick J. Cleary, senior vice president of communications at the National Association of Manufacturers, has just posted a pair of items on the political blog RedState that indicate Democrats are definitely counting post-election chickens before they hatch.

Or as the headline reminds: “It’s Not Nice to Measure the Drapes ‘Til After Election Day.”

The first posting is a fundraising appeal from Rep. Barney Frank, Massachusetts Democrat, who pledges that the next time he appeals to his supporters he “will be the Chairman in Waiting of the House Financial Services Committee.”

The second deals with a potential congressional job vacancy, posted by the Democrats: “House Science Committee is seeking experienced Science Policy Professionals for possible expanded Democratic committee staff in the 110th Congress.”

Spare us

We’re just about three weeks from the 2006 midterm elections, which means television viewers are once again being subjected to negative, attack-style campaign ads.

Here in the Washington area, for example, we’ve been watching Sen. George Allen, Virginia Republican, slug it out with his Democratic opponent, former Navy Secretary James H. Webb Jr.

Ditto in Maryland, although Republican senatorial candidate Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele is not so much blaming his opponent, Democratic Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin, as much as he is the status-quo mentality of Washington.

Needless to say, these mudslinging-style ads are popular, but are they effective?

We’ve obtained a study from the University of Missouri-Columbia, which for once finds that nonattack ads are the “most attention grabbing and memorable.”

Paul Bolls, assistant professor of advertising in the university’s school of journalism, says the results contradict findings from previous research, indicating that candidates “do not necessarily need to go on the attack.”

Branching out

Democrats’ plans to retake power this fall stretch beyond Capitol Hill.

“I am proud to help begin the Democratic invasion of Washington, beginning with the Herald Group and moving to Congress in November,” Teresa D. Schofield, who handled legislative affairs for the Clinton White House, teased Inside the Beltway yesterday.

She officially joined the previously Republican-led public relations firm this week as vice president. Most recently, she was the primary public affairs counsel for the government affairs practice of the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Letter of the week

Reader Dede Courtine of Ashville, N.Y., writes: “Read in your column [yesterday]: ‘Mark Foley, the Florida Republican who recently resigned from Congress after it was revealed he had sent sexually explicit e-mail messages to former congressional pages, would be denied his federal pension under legislation proposed by Rep. Rick Renzi, Arizona Republican.’

“Will this legislation also rescind the pension of Gerry Studds, who actually had sex with a page?”

That answer, obviously, is no, even though the 46-year-old Mr. Studds, Massachusetts Democrat, was censured by Congress in 1983 after he admitted having sex in 1973 with a 17-year-old boy who worked as a congressional page. A call from Rep. Newt Gingrich, Georgia Republican, that Mr. Studds be expelled from Congress fell on deaf ears.

As it was, the Democrat remained in office for several terms until his retirement in 1996.

Nate note

Why were high-level staff of the National Archives on hand in recent days to greet 4-year-old Nate Wolters, who arrived in the company of his Concord, Calif., family to check out the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence?

Because Nate, who skipped into the building’s rotunda at 3:15 p.m., happened to be the Archives’ 1 millionth visitor. “Awesome,” he shouted.

The Wolters say they are in the midst of a three-generation, monthlong American history field trip taking them up and down the East Coast.

John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or [email protected]washingtontimes.com.

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